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© John Farren

Meeting 382 -" Wines from the Loire"

Speaker: Kate Dowdeswell
Friday 20th March 2015: Neville Hall, Waltham St Lawrence


        We were very pleased to welcome back Kate Dowdeswell of Awin Barrat & Siegel to present this tasting. Kate left the wine trade for a year determined to do "something different" but, inexorably, has been drawn back, much to our benefit. The Loire is normally associated with the northern part of France, running East - West from Sancerre to Nantes, but actually its source (or maybe I should say sources) are many miles further
       South in the Auvergne giving a much wider range of wines to draw on. Interestingly Kate chose to present the wines in an unusual order starting with rosé, then two reds followed by whites. The first three wines were from Caves Saint Verny in the Auvergne. Saint Verny is the patron saint of wine appropriately enough. The 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé was an attractive dark pink with a fruity nose, good mouthfeel, length and some spice. Quite complex for rosé. Then came a 2013 Gamay, a grape not planted outside France, and a 2014 Pinot Noir red, both well-made honest wines, although I personally preferred the 2012 Pinot Noir served as the supper wine from Caves Saint Verny.
       White highlights were the Louis Métaireau Muscadet, Sévre et Maine, sur lie from 2013. Forget moule et frites with a glass of Muscadet. This wine, made using the same Melon de Bourgogne grape, was very rich, had a good acid balance and tasted like nothing you have ever experienced as a Muscadet. Made in concrete vats, no fining, no filtration, no pumping and indigenous yeasts. Excellent! The Quincy from Jacques Rouzé and the Pouilly Fumé from Régis Minet which followed were good but not especially distinctive. We finished with two Sancerres, both 2013, both from Pierre Martin and both made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes but with very different characteristics. His "Monts Damnées" made from 12 year old vines in a 0.8Ha parcel in Chavignol, hand harvested, produced a very enjoyable wine with freshness and complexity. On the other hand his "Cul de Beaujeu" made from vines planted on 0.7Ha in 2004 had been in 300 litre French Oak hogsheads delivering a dark gold coloured wine with honey on the nose, much lower levels of acidity and very rich. Both were really good wines.
       Charlotte's supper main course was a rich game stew but afterwards she had a surprise for us all. There are 48 cheeses in France that have the protected AOC status - and six of them are in the Loire Valley. They go well with local wines, and all of them are goat cheeses. An interesting explanation for this fact is that nearly 1300 years ago, when the Arabs were defeated at the famous Battle of Tours in 732 by Charles Martel, the grandfather of Charlemagne, they left their goats in this region. For the event, Charlotte had managed to source all six: Valençay, Crottin de Chavignol, Chabichou du Poutou, Pouligny St. Pierre, Selles-sur-Cher and Sainte-Maure de Touraine. A show of hands on the night indicated that the Valençay and Sainte Maure de Touraine were the most popular.
       Thanks to Kate and to Charlotte for entertaining us so well whilst educating our palates.
       (Chris Graham)

The Wines
Aperitif: Jean-Claude & Didier Auvert, Vouvray Mousseaux Réserve Brut NV 14.50
White Wines:

   (1) Jaques Rouzé, Quincy; Quincy "Tradition" 2013
        Sauvignon Blanc
(2) Régis Minet, Pouilly Fumé; Sancerre "Le Désert" 2012
       Sauvignon Blanc
(3) Pierre Martin, Sancerre; Sancerre "Mont Damnées" 2013
       Sauvignon Blanc
(4) Pierre Martin, Sancerre; Sancerre "Cul de Beaujeu" 2013
       Sauvignon Blanc
(5) Louis Rouzé, Muscadet; Grand Mouton Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie 2013
       Melon de Bourgogne
Red and Rosé Wines:

  (6) Caves St Verny, Auverne; Puy de Dôme Pinot Noir Rosé 2014
       Pinot Noir
(7)Caves St Verny, Auverne; Gamay Côtes d'Auverne 2013
(8) Caves St Verny, Auverne; Puy de Dôme Pinot Noir 2013
       Pinot Noir
The supper wine :    Caves St Verny, Auverne; Puy de Dôme Pinot Noir 2012